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  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. stocks rose at the open on Thursday after labor market data came in within expectations and following encouraging comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on tools to tackle the region's debt crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 40.66 points, or 0.30 percent, to 13,535.27.

  • *Sales at Costco and Gap top expectations. *Macy's, Target, Kohl's sales miss analysts' forecasts. "I think September overall is going to be OK; I don't think it's going to be great," said John Rooney, national retail& distribution sector lead for Deloitte Consulting.

  • Urban relishes peacemaker role on 'Idol' Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 9:21 AM ET

    NEW YORK-- "American Idol" season 12 tapings are just getting under way and Keith Urban has already become more than just a judge: he's also the pacifier on the newly-minted panel. "We're all passionate people and we're learning a new dance and we're all a work in progress," said Urban Wednesday at the New York Film Festival gala honoring his wife, Nicole Kidman.

  • Wells Fargo's International Group, named Christopher Lewis as executive vice president and head of global trade services. Most recently, he was head of trade and supply chain for North America at HSBC.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. stocks were set to rise at the open on Thursday after labor market data came in within expectations and following encouraging comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on tools to tackle the region's debt crisis.

  • Ahead of the Bell: JetBlue Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 9:13 AM ET

    NEW YORK-- An analyst on Thursday cut his earnings estimates for JetBlue Airways Corp. because the price of fuel hasn't dropped as much as he expected after Labor Day. Sterne Agee analyst Jeffrey Kauffman cut his profit forecast for the New York airline's third quarter to 16 cents per share from a previous expectation of 22 cents per share.

  • The ECB's decision was widely expected and the market was more focused on what ECB president Mario Draghi will say in his post-meeting news conference about Spain and the prospect that it will trigger the bank's new bond buying programme. "What is key for euro/dollar going forward is going to be Spain," said Michael Sneyd, FX strategist at BNP Paribas.

  • Wall Street futures higher as retailers report Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 9:05 AM ET

    Dow futures are up 59 points to 13,485. The broader S&P 500 futures are up 8 points to 1,452.40. Investors are also awaiting news from the monthly policy meeting of the European Central Bank. Stocks across Europe were marginally higher ahead of ECB head Mario Draghi's news conference, which is being held in Slovenia, one of the euro's 17 countries.

  • Initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000, the Labor Department said, below economists' expectations for a rise to 370,000..

  • Oct 4- Social media company Facebook Inc said on Thursday it reached the 1 billion active monthly users threshold last month, and is up by 45 million users since June. Facebook has faced a rough debut since its May initial public offering.

  • *Macy's, Target sales miss analysts' forecasts. Retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp, Victoria's Secret operator Limited Brands Inc and teen chain Zumiez Inc posted bigger-than-expected gains in September sales at stores open at least a year. Target Corp and Macy's Inc posted same-store sales increases that missed analysts' expectations.

  • Ahead of the Bell: Hewlett-Packard Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:56 AM ET

    NEW YORK-- Analysts on Thursday voiced concerns that Hewlett-Packard's ongoing efforts to restructure its operations might not be enough to turn around the struggling computer company any time soon.

  • Brent, U.S. crude higher then choppy on ECB, data Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:53 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Oct 4- Brent and U.S. crude futures extended gains on Thursday in choppy trading as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi held a news conference and after oil briefly pared increases on data showing U.S. jobless claims rose last week. Brent crude was up $1.50 at $109.67 a barrel at 8:47 a.m. EDT, having traded from $108.02 to $110.13.

  • BRIEF-Kohl's down in premarket after September sales Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:48 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Oct 4- Kohl's Corp:.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, according government data on Thursday that suggested a mild improvement in the labor market. IAN LYNGEN, SENIOR GOVERNMENT BOND STRATEGIST AT CRT CAPITAL GROUP IN STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT. SEAN INCREMONA, ECONOMIST, 4 CAST LTD, NEW YORK.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- Limited Brands Inc:.

  • Ore. pot measure struggles as Wash., Colo. thrive Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:44 AM ET

    PORTLAND, Ore.-- As marijuana legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington pick up steam, a similar push in Oregon seems to be going up in smoke. More than $4 million has flowed to Washington and close to a million in Colorado.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. stock index futures added to gains after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said growth risks are on the downside and should be contained by effective policymaker action.

  • USA Today founder honors ND Olive Garden reviewer Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:43 AM ET

    She's known for her earnest review of an Olive Garden restaurant in North Dakota that went viral on the Internet. Six decades after they worked together at the University of South Dakota's student newspaper, Al Neuharth, 88, and Marilyn Hagerty, 86, are reuniting.

  • TREASURIES-Bonds trim losses after jobless claims data Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | 8:43 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. Treasuries prices trimmed losses on Thursday after the U.S. Labor Department reported a small rise in new jobless claims in the latest week. After the report, the 10- year Treasury note was down 8/ 32, slightly less than it was down before the report; its yield stood at 1.64 percent.